Syria - remember the musicians

With political unrest continuing in Syria we should remember the musicians there, some of who have featured on the path. My header image shows the Syrian brothers Khaled Al Jaramani and Mohannad Al Jaramani together with French clarinetist Raphaël Vuillard: their CD of Sufi inspired improvisations Bab Assalam, which featured here last year, was recorded in the ancient city of Aleppo in northern Syria which has been the centre of some of the recent disturbances. Composer and singer Abed Azrié was born in Syria and he recorded his humanist The Gospel of John with traditional musicans, soloists and choir from Damascus as well as young musicians from France. This recording, which deserves to reach a wide audience, was supported by the Syrian Ministry of Culture and when I wrote about it eight months ago I added a health warning about Syria's human rights record. Orthodox Islam considers Sufism to be heretical, but Syria has a long tradition of Sufi brotherhoods. The Syrian muqri (Koran reader) and munshid (hymnodist) Hamza Shakkur and the Ensemble Al-Kindi were featured in my Sufi Soul article and they perform in the accompanying podcast which can be heard here.

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